After leading the NCAA in total points this past fall, Wake Forest, FC Tucson and Carolina Dynamo forward Jon Bakero is one of the premier prospects available in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
In his senior season with the top-ranked Demon Deacons, Bakero scored 16 goals and recorded 14 assist to lead the nation with 46 points, emerging as the best attacking threat in the nation’s top collegiate conference. His level of play and contribution to Wake Forest’s success brought Bakero to the forefront of college soccer and earned him recognition as the top DI men’s player, winning the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy.
“It was a good end to my college career,” Bakero told USLPDL.com. “I’ve spent the last four years in college working hard, so to end it with the MAC Hermann Trophy was great for me and my family and all of the work I’ve put in over the past four years.”
A Spanish-native, Bakero came to the U.S. to play collegiate ball and wound up in North Carolina with the Demon Deacons ahead of his freshman season. Over his time at Wake Forest, the team was consistently one of the most dangerous in the highly-competitive ACC, but Bakero’s contributions allowed the team to rise to the top as conference champions for the first time since 1989.
“I think Wake Forest was just the right fit for me,” Bakero said. “Year after year I got better, and this year I think something clicked and things went really well, and I was lucky enough to help the team with goals and assists. It’s an honor to lead the country in points.”
In the summers prior to his junior and senior seasons, Bakero spent his time in the PDL with FC Tucson in 2016 and the Carolina Dynamo in 2017. Competing against the nation’s top collegiate players, Bakero was able to hone his craft and grow as a professional-level prospect under two of the best organizations in the league.
“The Carolina Dynamo and FC Tucson were also great places for me,” said Bakero. “Both head coaches and all the staff there were great to me and helped me develop as a player. Obviously with the college season being so short, being able to spend time over the summer to keep improving and keep playing was great for me.”
Given his own obvious development as a player, Bakero is effusive in his praise of the PDL’s summer platform, as well as its focus on fun, high-level soccer.
“As I said, the college season is not very long,” Bakero said. “The spring season doesn’t have a lot of games. I think the summer is a good time for us to develop, to have some time to really enjoy soccer and there are great clubs in the PDL to help you do that.”